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April 26, 2024

Walmart Highlights Developments in Preparation for Its Annual Meeting

Posted In: Retail Articles

Walmart has highlighted achievements, plans for growth and the decision by Rob Walton to retire from the corporate board as the company prepares for the 2024 version of its annual meeting.

The company noted that 11 director nominees will seek election at the June 5 annual meeting, including ten existing members and, replacing Walton, Brian Niccol, the chairman and CEO of Chipotle Mexican Grill. If elected, Walmart pointed out that Niccol would become the fifth new independent director Walmart has welcomed to the board since 2017. 

In his annual letter to shareholders and employees, Walmart president and CEO Doug McMillon expressed his appreciation for the company’s employees, who, he noted, drove a strong performance in the recently completed fiscal year.

McMillon also discussed how the company would advance in the year ahead, with the points he made including:

  • Walmart is reshaping the digital business model, combining a traditional retail P&L with a newer approach that considers e-commerce, both for its owned inventory and the marketplaces it operates, as well as membership, advertising, fulfillment as a service and data monetization. Last year, advertising became a $3.4 billion business for the company, and membership income grew by 20%, so, from a big-picture perspective, the business, as it is evolving, will grow more efficiently over time and create a better business mix along the way.
  • Walmart will continue to remodel its stores and Sam’s Club locations and build new units where it identifies opportunity. The remodeling effort will involve more than 900 stores and clubs globally over the next year, including 650 stores in the U.S. The company is building 30 new Sam’s Clubs over the next several years while adding more than 150 Supercenters and Neighborhood Markets over the next five years. Outside the U.S., Walmart will open 230 stores and clubs next year.
  • Walmart is building a more connected, intelligent and automated supply chain with 13 of 42 regional distribution centers in the U.S. operating, with some level of automated storage and retrieval systems. The company has approximately 1,500 stores receiving palletized freight from such distribution centers today.
  • Walmart is applying technology to create new customer experiences, unlock insights from data to support decisions and intelligently automate operations with innovations such as generative AI and computer vision, as well as automated storage and retrieval systems in distribution and fulfillment centers. In one example, the company has installed generative AI-driven product search, allowing customers to shop more intuitively, as well as new exit technology at Sam’s Club U.S. that allows members to pay and leave more easily, and Shop with Friends, which enables social shopping.

Rob Walton joined Walmart in 1969 and, before that, worked at his father Sam’s 5&10 store. He has served for more than 40 years on the Walmart board and helped shape some of its most important moments, the company stated.

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